“I don’t just want to smash glass ceilings. I want to be the kind of leader who ensures glass ceilings don’t exist. Let’s grab hold of this challenge. Stand up for what you believe in. Make a difference. Let’s dare to lead together” – Anna Keeling, MD, Boeing.
On Friday 29th November the trailblazers, change-makers and inclusive leaders who won the regional finals that were held across the UK throughout September and October came together for the mother of all awards – The FL National Awards & Summit Grand Final 2019, which took place at the Royal Armouries in Leeds with finalists travelling from across the UK with the red carpet out for their arrival.
The day was hosted by Arti Halai – co-founder of three businesses, a former ITV presenter, who now works with brands across the world. Arti took the opportunity to thank the many sponsors who enable the awards to happen year on year and introduced a short film to showcase the work our charity partners, The Young Women’s Trust.
FL has created a fund in partnership with the Young Women’s Trust and raised over £3.8K this year to support young women, who are trapped in poverty, low paid work and un-employment into a career.
Lara Oyesanya, who was ‘Business Woman of the Year 2018’ took to the stage to talk about the year she has had after winning the award last year, and the opportunities that have opened up and the things she has learned as a result – “To lead others, you must lead yourself”.
Her advice to the winner of this year’s award? – “Be Visible”.
Richard Carter, MD of BASF and one of the sponsors of the awards gave his speech about diversity in the workplace, and shared the work his organisation are doing around flexibility – recognising that flexibility in their workforce is “key to enhancing gender diversity and creating gender balance”. He said “it costs nothing to have a change in mindset” – which is so true, we need to challenge existing attitudes and mindsets so we can bring about the change we need.
One by one, our 2019 finalists were announced on stage and presented with their award by the sponsor of each category. Click here to read about our winners. In between the awards was lunch, which was a three-course meal, with wine, the opportunity to connect and network and to discover the goodies on offer in the Cohorted sponsored goody bags, along with a FREE annual tastecard membership card courtesy of our sponsors tastecard.
After lunch, Arti hosted our next generation panel discussion with our awards alumni Jessica Okoro and Emma Jane Tarabay; they talked about the future generation of female leaders and what we can do to encourage leadership in young girls.
Anna Keeling, MD, Boeing Defence UK, who sponsored the ‘Business Woman of the Year’ category shared her incredible story with us on stage. Anna talked about how her fascination with engineering began and how it only takes “one person to believe in you”. She asked each and every one of the female leaders in the audience to “show courage in the face of adversity, advocate for those who can’t advocate for themselves and stand up for what they believe in. We must take action and dare to lead together”.
Anna said, “It’s my firm belief and proposition to you today that you do not have to be a CEO or an MD to lead. It’s not a job title. It’s an action. It’s your ability to raise your voice, advocate for those who can’t get their voice heard. To make a difference and change the status quo”
“We are only going to drive sustainable change together. Men are not the problem; rather they are part of the solution”.
Griselda Togobo, CEO FL closed the 2019 Awards thanking everyone for their support in making the awards happen and declaring nominations are open for the 2020 awards, all followed by the awards after-party where sponsors, speakers, winners, finalists and guests had the opportunity to network and connect over drinks into the evening.
The FL National Awards & Summit recognise the achievements of business women in the UK. We are dedicated to encouraging the growth of women with the National Awards & Summit being a national showcase and celebration of the achievements of successful women across the UK.
It’s time to pay it forward.
A BIG thank you to all our sponsors and supporting partners who enable our awards to happen.
LNER, tastecard, Boeing Defence UK, BASF, Envirovent, Grant Thornton UK, Murray Harcourt, Rael World Group, IoD, Leeds Beckett University, Cohorted, Pratap Partnership, LCF Law, Yorkshire Post, Topic UK, Yorkshire Life, Ilkley Literature Festival, Phoenix Dance Theatre